Monday, March 26, 2012

Outreach Training

Saturday afternoon, Luke and I headed over to the farm next to us to do some training for an upcoming outreach event. We were training the leaders of two different churches that meet at this school on the farm on two things. In the first hour, I covered "The Basics of the Gospel" and in the second hour, Luke covered "Who We Are As Christians."

It was a wonderful time of sharing and getting to know some of our friends on the farm next door. It was such an encouragement to see many of the people in these churches excited about sharing the gospel with their friends, family and neighbors in this community through the Jesus Film.

Pray for this event. We will be showing the film the evening of the 31st of March, just after sunset. Pray for those doing outreach during this week leading up to the event. Pray for our gathering on the 31st. Pray for electricity. Pray for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit during this event and during the time of prayer afterwards. Pray that many people would have their eyes and ears opened to the message of Jesus and respond in faith!

Above is a short 2-minute video with some of the worship, pictures and video clips of our time there. Please excuse me from not appearing in the video as Luke was delayed in his arrival and I had no one to take pics/video while I was sharing.

If you are receiving this post via email, CLICK HERE to watch the video.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rural Development

Mwenda Rural Development Trust

Friday, we were invited to attend a meeting in Chikankata with the Chieftainess's Rural Development Team. This is a team of over 120 Tonga leaders that are responsible for most of the development in Chikankata and a group that we see as a strategic partner in our ministry here.

It was a good chance to meet some of the board members and individual leaders from the 23 geographic zones that they serve. It was also a chance to listen to them share about the different issues that are plaguing the spiritual and physical development of their people. As they shared, I had an intrepreter translate so I could find out what these major issues were. Here is a sample of the list. It was very interesting to hear that some of their main problems are some of the issues that we felt were central to our ministry here in Chikankata.
  • Alcoholism
  • Security and Theft
  • Deforestation
  • hunger, maize supplies and fertilizer shortages
  • no bore holes for clean drinking water
  • corruption
  • bad roads
  • Witch Doctors
  • Education and lack of trained teachers
It was good to hear straight from the people what they have identified as their main issues to developing community. We hope to soon begin meeting with the individual zone leaders to get an even better idea of how our ministry can serve the people here. So pray for us!

If you are receiving this post via email, CLICK HERE to watch the short 20 second video.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Need a ride?

Most rural Zambians do not have their own transportation and have to walk many many miles in order to get where they are going. So, "hitching" a ride is a pretty normal thing when the opportunity presents itself.

This past week on my way to the main road, I passed three Zambians walking on the drive going out of the farm. So, I decided to stop and give them a ride. I found out that these two men and a lady had been walking since early in the morning and had already covered about 8 miles. You would think that was pretty far, but they still had another 8 to 10 to go in order to get to the bus stop that would take them to Lusaka.

And they weren't just walking empty handed. I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but the woman was carrying a goat! Needless to say they were very thankful to be assisted in their journey and I really enjoyed getting to practice, along the way, some of the Tonga that I've learned in my few months living here in Chikankata.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting Creative

In Africa, a lot of times you have to get creative. I've seen it a lot over the years, whether it be catching rats with paint can traps, fixing the hose with a small piece of rubber, etc. you name it and they have a work around.

Well, I saw this at the vet the other day and had to take a picture. In the States, if the vet needs to keep the dog from scratching it's head, it puts a cone around the collar. Here, we don't have that luxury, because dog cones are not available. So, what do you use when you can't find a dog cone? A coffee tin. I'd hate to see what they use on the big dogs!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wierd Alergies

Kerri has never had any alergic reaction to anything since we met nearly 15 years ago. So, we've been a little caught off guard with some new alergies that she seems to have developed here in the African bush.

Yesterday, it looked like she had been punched in the eye. She made me swear that I wouldn't post a picture of her looking that way, but she did give me permission to take a close-up of her eye to show you the effects of her recent alergic reactions.

Our speculation is that the grasses here, which grow only during the rainy season (now) are causing these alergies. We'll just have to wait for dry season, after the grasses are burned to see if she is still having these reactions. I know you probably don't want to read a post about alergies, but we just want you to get a view of the trivial things we deal with here in Zambia on a daily basis.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bad News, Bad News, Good News, Outreach

Bad News
Before this weekend, we had two family dogs: Georgia our "guard dog in the making" puppy and Chisomo our sweet old German Shepherd. We asked you to pray for Georgia because she was accidently hit by our car, but we probably should have included Chiso in that prayer request. Saturday morning she got what is called a twisted stomach and rapidly went downhill. Before we got her to the vet, she had quit walking and by the time we got her to the vet, it was too late. So, Saturday was a sad day for the Roberts family, especially the kids, as they had to say farewell to Chisomo.

Bad News
Things that you don't have to deal with in the States that we do here... The only refinery in Zambia ceased operations this past Friday. Apparently, the boat delivering the crude oil to the Zambia pipeline is idling in the Indian Ocean waiting on clearance to unload and, because of this, our refinery has run out of crude oil feed stock. We have trips planned to Lusaka in the coming weeks and this has the potential to mess these trips up. So pray for our oil supply.

Good News
In the midst of some bad news, there is some good. God is sovereign and in control of it all. He knows our needs and it pleases Him to provide us with the grace that we need to live and do ministry here in Chikankata!

On March 31st, we will be holding our first Jesus Film outreach. The farm next door has a school and church that ministers to the community around us. We will be working with several members of their church to do this outreach. Next Saturday the 24th, Luke and I will be training their leadership team for the event. I'll be teaching on the basics of the Gospel and Luke will be teaching on our identity in Christ. Pray for our training and pray for this outreach!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Croc Tails?

Just something interesting you don't find in the States. Luke and I were in Mazabuka this past week doing some shopping and stopped in one of the local meat markets. In addition to selling the normal (chicken, steak, pork) they also sold other things that you might not find in the States. In particular, she was selling croccodile tails!

Seeing them packaged so nicely, we simply couldn't resist. So, Luke bought one of the bags and I bought the other. Well, last night when the power went off and we had to cook over our gas cooker, what did we decide to fix? You guessed it, Croc Tails. And what did they taste like, you might ask? You probably guessed it again, Chicken! Well, fishy chicken.

Anyways, just thought you would want to know about some of the "other" cuisuines we eat here in Zambia.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Update on Georgia

Thank you for praying for our family puppy. She is still hurting, but should be fine. The vet said that she bruised her siatic nerve, which caused temporary paralysis in her back leg. Nothing was broken and she's on the mend now.

An interesting thing did happen coming out of the vet visit though. Our vet is a Christian believer who also attends the church we attend. We were able to have coffee and talk for a few hours while I was there. One of the things we talked about was starting a bible study with some of the other men in the area. So, pray for that. It would be a great way to get to know some of our neighbors and encourage one another through the word.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Small crisis this evening. Out three month old puppy, Georgia, was hit by a car - our car. She was chasing the car as Kerri was returning from bible study and got a little to close. It seems like she is somewhat ok. We think her back right leg was run over, because she can't put any weight on it. But we think she is well enough to wait for a morning visit to the vet. So, pray for Georgia and the kids that adore her!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


This past weekend, we hosted Zambia's representatives for Foundations for Farming (Ben and Catherine Frampton from the UK). For those of you who don't know, Foundations for Farming is a Christian ministry that was founded in Zimbabwe, Africa. It seeks to empower the "least of these" in Africa with the ability to provide for important physical needs while also addressing the greatest Spiritual need of knowing and following Christ.

FfF is very excited (and vice-versa) about the potential for a partnership in our work here in Chikankata. So, it was nice having Ben and Cat for a visit to share strategies and dream big together. If you would be interested in learning more about Foundations for Farming, you can visit their website at:

Sunday, March 11, 2012


(Movet and Luke filling the sprayer with Bee Poison)

One of the things that we want to start here on the property is a small katemba (grocery store). The purpose is to provide, not only a job for the person(s) running the store, but to use the profits to provide more jobs for some of our neighbors here on the farm. We're very fortunate in the fact that the previous owner of this property outfitted a shipping container with shelves and even a back room that can be locked. They placed it on the back edge of the property and already used this container as a store in the past. So, we thought we would do the same.

But in order to get the store up and running, we had to deal with one minor issue: BEES! Apparently, underneath the floor of this container was a great place for bees to build a hive, a massive hive. So, this past weekend, Movet, Tyson & Luke got the sprayer and some poison and "went to town" spraying. I would have assisted, but it appears as if I might be alergic to bee stings. So, I kept to a safe distance.

Anyways, the container was sprayed and we think the bees that weren't killed won't return because of the poison that is still present. So, hopefully, very soon, we'll open the store!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Discipleship Through Composting?

One of the programs that we feel is going to be a big part of discipleship here in Chikankata is Foundations for Farming. It's built on 4 very basic but life changing principles: Doing things (1) on-time, (2) to a high standard, (3) with no wastage and (4) with Joy!

The third principle, no wastage, simply means being good stewards of the things that God has already given us. In this instance, materials for composting. This past Tuesday, Luke, myself, and three of our workers constructed our first of many compost heaps. It was made up from things you would naturally find in the wilderness (green plant material, brown plant material, sticks and other larger debris, & manure).

It took us nearly 3 hours to construct, but this one pile of compost can fertilize nearly 2 acres of land for an entire planting season. Pretty amazing huh?

And think about the implications for discipleship this compost heap provides. God calls us to be good stewards with everything He has given us, including dead plant material and animal poop ; )

What if we can get the Tonga people to realize just how much God has given them already and how that can be stewarded to provide so much more! Imagine a subsistence farmer who cannot afford fertilizer being able to produce his own from materials already present on his land. How would that change his view of God and his love for us?

God calls us to be faithful with everything He has blessed us with, no matter how little or how much. I can't wait to see the day when many of our friends here start looking, with joy, at what God has already put in their hands to provide for themselves, their families and their communities!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Jerusalem, Judea, ...

(Renee Reeve, Gracyn, Macie & Emma Whitfield on the Reeve's quad)

I think because it has been so long in the making that Luke and I are itching to get out into the surrounding communities and do some ministry. But before reaching to the utter most parts of Chikankata, we really feel like God might have us focus on Jerusalem (the Reeve's farm and their workers) first!

We've been doing a few things to build relationships amongst this community, but within the next week or so, we are planning our first outreach. We will be showing the Jesus film at our home one evening. We're hoping that this event will help us begin to learn who our neighbors are here at the farm as well as to introduce many of them to the gospel of Jesus.

In addition to this, we have also identified 8 young men who we plan on starting a more focused discipleship group. These young men have worked for us part time on occassion and are the same boys who have been playing soccer with Caleb and Thomas.

Please pray for us as we begin to reach out to our immediate community. Pray for this outreach event. Pray for wisdom as we develop relationships with these young men.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Our New Church Home

This past Sunday marked our fourth Sunday at Mazabuka Community Church. For those of you who don't know, this church is our sponsoring church for employment here in Zambia. Pastor Shawn Kelly has been a missionary here in Mazabuka/Chikankata for roughly 16 years and planted this church at a local polo club.

It's been a blessing having a place to plug into for spiritual feeding and development and it's been a great place to meet new friends. It's a little bit intimidating, because I haven't preached very often, but Luke and I have been asked to help out occasionally in preaching and Kerri and Elise will probably get involved with the worship.

It's a very neat little church in that there are people who attend from many different backgrounds. This past Sunday, there was an indian couple, many of the white Zambian farmers as well as some Tonga speaking Zambians. Kind of gives us a sneak peak of what it will be like when people from every tribe, tongue and nation will be gathered before Jesus in worship.

This coming Wednesday, Shawn and a few of the members are coming for tea at our home to visit with us and the Whitfields. Please pray that we will make lasting relationships in this community of believers. Pray that we could be an encouragement to them and vice-versa.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

How Do You Shop For Your Veggies?

As we returned home from our two-day trip into Lusaka, we made a routine stop. It is the final turn-off before going to Zimbabwe where there are a bunch of street vendors. This is the same turn that I was at when the car broke down about a month ago. So, I know it all to well ; ).

Anyways, I sat there and watched Kerri and Elise buying some tomatoes and avacados and thought to myself: "You know, people in the States probably have no idea how we shop for our veggies here in Zambia." So, I took a quick photo.

In Zambia, there are many small shops like these called Katemba's. At these shops, you can find almost any fruit or vegetable that you're looking for. The ladies who work these shops will sit all day in hopes of finding a few customers to buy their produce so that they can then feed their families in the nearby villages.

Just thought you would want a peek into one of our routine experiences here in Zambia!